William John Burchell (1782–1863), United Kingdom
On the river, near Santos, Brazil, 1835
Oil on board
Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros
Trained as a botanist in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, Burchell traveled to Brazil in 1825 as a British diplomatic envoy. Painted five years after returning to London, this composition shows a scene from the state of São Paulo: two free Afro-Brazilians are flanked by palms and shrubs, rendered with scientific accuracy. To the left, a Cyathea candelabrum palm frames the two figures, while the plants in the middle distance are Guaridova palms.